I worked with a grandfather who took his grandchild in to raise him. As I worked with him, I learned the grandfather had very old school way of discipline which are frowned upon in today’s age. At intake, I witnessed a situation that made me realized that there was a generational gap we were going to have to work through.

I made a game plan and wanted to help the grandfather to understand there are more effective ways for discipline than the old school ways. At the next visit, we went over the plan and talked about goals he wanted to set. With tears in his eyes, he said “I just want to do right by my grandson and give him the life that he deserves because his parents have failed him.”

I would always start my visits asking how are things going and if there were any concerns he wanted to talk about. We spent a lot of visits discussing the child’s behaviors, how the grandfather handles the situation, and alternative ways he could handle it. I would also praise him for how he handled it when appropriate. We discussed trauma and how it can affect us especially children. We made family rules, chores, a daily routine and a list of appropriate consequences. Through several discussions, I continued to encourage the grandpa to let the child have personal power and make his own choices, especially when dealing with behaviors. To remind his grandson of the appropriate behaviors and the consequences if he chooses not to do the behavior. This was hard for grandpa to understand.

As the months went by, I saw the gap getting smaller. The updates I was getting were more positive and the grandpa was trying the things we were talking about. He would say to me “I just can’t believe the difference with this kid.” I knew we finally closed that gap when I walked in and the first thing grandpa said was “I did what you suggested and gave the boy a choice and reminded of the consequence and guess what? He continued, “the boy did the right thing!” The smile on his face was priceless.

By the time our last visit came, I can honestly say that in this case, grandpa put in the hard work. I have never seen someone put so much work into this program. The love this grandfather had for this child was very evident. He would do anything for this child. Grandpa was the one that made the difference.

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